Anne Douglas, producer and widow of Kirk Douglas, dead at 102


In this file photo taken on May 28, 2008 actor Kirk Douglas and wife Anne attend the Anne and Kirk Douglas 400th Playground Dedication at Lillian Street Elementary School, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: AFP

Anne Douglas, the wife of Kirk Douglas and producer known for her philanthropy work, has died. She was 102.

The Douglas family announced she peacefully died at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on Thursday (April 29) afternoon.

Her death comes about one year after the death of her husband, who died in February 2020.

The couple were married for 66 years.

"Anne was more than a stepmother, and never 'wicked," actor and stepson Michael Douglas said in a statement.

"She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father. Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne's support and partnership.

"Catherine and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts."

Born in Hannover, Germany, Douglas' efforts to later escape the Nazi-occupied country led her to France.

Her fluency in German, English, French and Italian enabled her to work with a French film distributor, leading to a career in the movie industry.

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2012 Kirk Douglas and his wife Ann arrive to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, California. Photo: AFPIn this file photo taken on February 26, 2012 Kirk Douglas and his wife Ann arrive to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, California. Photo: AFP

She later met Kirk in 1953 when he offered her a job as his publicist while in Paris to film Act Of Love.

His early courtship took persistence, but the couple ended up marrying in Las Vegas in May 1954.

Despite her deep ties to Hollywood, Douglas' most significant impact was done through her philanthropy work.

She was a driving force in the building of the Los Angeles County Music Center and served on the boards of The Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group.

In addition to being one of the original founders of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women's Cancers, Douglas prioritised the welfare of Los Angeles women with the opening of the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission.

Endlessly recognised for her work, Kirk best captured the tenacity of his wife when he said: "Anne is selfless, compassionate and loyal to a fault. She also has a wicked sense of humour and can make me laugh in English, French and German."

Douglas is survived by children Peter, Michael and Joel; daughters-in-law Catherine and Lisa; grandchildren Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan; great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder and a sister, Merle Werbke.

In addition to Kirk, she was predeceased by son Eric Douglas in 2004. – Reuters

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